Volvo XC90 review - Reliability and safety
Volvo's excellent standard safety kit and improving Driver Power customer feedback should be reassuring for buyers
Volvo is a byword for safety and dependability, so the XC90’s full five-star Euro NCAP rating should come as no surprise. When it was tested in 2015, the XC90 earned a 97 per cent score for occupant protection, plus a 100 per cent score for its safety assist systems. This is partly thanks to two pieces of tech that made their debut in the XC90: a Run Off-Road system that senses if you veer off the tarmac – preparing the car for a crash – and special energy-absorbent seats that’ll reduce the impact of a big hit.
There’s also a clever autonomous braking system, which stops you turning in front of an oncoming car. This is part of Volvo’s enhanced City Safety package, which also helps protect against collisions with motorcycles, swerving bicycles or errant pedestrians.
Other safety features include a passenger compartment constructed from high-strength steel. Known as boron steel, it’s the strongest steel in use in the auto industry, and Volvo reckons the XC90 uses more of it (by percentage of body weight) than any other car on sale.
On top of this, the XC90 gets all of the usual safety kit, including seven airbags that provide protection to all three rows of seats and ESP, while blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert form part of the Intellisafe Surround system.
Over the past few years, Volvo has been steadily rising up through the rankings in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey: the Swedish carmaker finished 13th (out of 29 brands) in 2019, 10th spot in 2020, a 9th-place finish in 2021 and achieved 8th position in 2022.
All Volvos come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is about average for the class – although the BMW X5 has no mileage limitation on its three-year guarantee. Meanwhile, the plug-in hybrid version’s lithium-ion battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first, and XC90 buyers also get three years of free roadside assistance that covers you Europe-wide.
Servicing costs for the Volvo XC90 can be fixed if you purchase one of the marque’s set plans. They can last between two and six years, varying in cost depending on annual mileage. You don’t have to buy these immediately, meaning there is no pressure to buy a package at the same time as buying your car.
In this review
- 1Volvo XC90 reviewTech and style updates have kept Volvo’s luxurious seven-seat SUV at the forefront of its field
- 2Engines, performance and drivePowerful petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines ensure the big Volvo XC90 isn’t short of get-up-and-go
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsMild-hybrid diesel tech offers good economy, but the XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrid is the most efficient model in the range
- 4Interior, design and technologyMinimalist exterior styling, combined with a quality interior makes the XC90 an appealing luxury SUV choice
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIn spite of its premium feel, practicality is the real strength of the Volvo XC90
- 6Reliability and Safety - currently readingVolvo's excellent standard safety kit and improving Driver Power customer feedback should be reassuring for buyers